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  3 Common Abuses of LinkedIn

Jun 26th

3 Common Abuses of LinkedIn


Career Management, Never Stop Networking!, Personal

LinkedIn is undoubtedly the #1 Networking tool when you manage and promote your career and professional brand. Because LinkedIn was built for easy access and far-reaching connectivity, many users unfortunately take advantage of this quality to misuse and abuse LinkedIn. 

Here are 3 Common Abuses of LinkedIn and ideas to address these issues. 

LinkedIn is undoubtedly the #1 Networking tool when you manage and promote your career and professional brand. Because LinkedIn was built for easy access and far-reaching connectivity, many users unfortunately take advantage of this quality to misuse and abuse LinkedIn. 

Here are 3 Common Abuses of LinkedIn and ideas to address these issues. 

1. Writing about personal issues, experiences, messages, pretty much anything and everything that isn't PROFESSIONAL IN NATURE or relating to LinkedIn. Recently, a CEO of a relatively unknown company posted a picture of himself and a relative who was diagnosed with an illness, and the attached message asked the LinkedIn community to pray to God for their family.

Although touching and clearly an important personal issue, is this appropriate for LinkedIn and is it fair for the LinkedIn community to be alerted? My argument is a resounding and definite "NO". With all due respect, personal tragedy is truly not a professional issue that the LinkedIn community needs to know about. Furthermore, he tied in his religious views, which again has nothing to do with career progression and networking - double no-no! His post is suitable for Facebook, NOT LinkedIn.

With my background in headhunting, my sole job is to evaluate people based on how they present themselves professionally before even considering to submit to an open position. If I were recruiting for a CEO in his field, I would definitely be concerned as I'd question his business sense and intentions. Can I trust someone who uses a professional forum to air their personal laundry to run a company? Why risk ruining how you may be perceived by oversharing? 

TIP: Before you post anything, evaluate what is your aim. Is your post PROFESSIONAL IN NATURE and does it impact more than your family and friends? If it's a post that you want to share with personal contacts, Facebook or Wordpress or a blog will be a better outlet to share events and opinions unrelated to networking/career/work.

2. As in most social situations with meeting new people, don't share your views on religion and politics unless it's PROFESSIONAL IN NATURE. Even the best of friends avoid discussing religion and politics! What good could come out of informing potential clients, colleagues, hiring managers, and networking contacts to what your stance is on such sensitive topics?  

We are in the midst of another election year. Emotions are running higher than ever. Similar to the first example about God and praying, please don't re-share a news article straight from yesterday's recap on a debate, unless it is framed around a LinkedIn-appropriate topic such as personal development, professional branding or career advice. For instance, sharing how something like religion has helped you achieve better work performance or how a politician's actions mirror a common workplace issue could be totally relevant and helpful for others to learn from. In contrast, a post solely on your opinion of the latest political news is just TMI and not suitable for LinkedIn.

REMEMBER: if a potential employer or business contact disagrees with your religious and political views, you may be immediately cut from the conversation before you even begin. As with any digital outlet, your words and posts are kept on the record for ANYONE AND EVERYONE to see, for better or for worse.

3. Harassment and spamming. Sadly, everyone has issues of receiving unwanted attention from any social media site. Similarly, LinkedIn is not immune nor protected against this disturbing phenomenon.  

Whether through a poorly-written, grammatically incorrect, or irrelevant business/sales pitch, or someone looking for a date, it's just a matter of time before we all become victim to some form of harassment on LinkedIn.

As someone passionate about diversity, feminism, and empowering women in the workplace, I take serious offense when I receive sexist or intrusive messages. Unfortunately, this problem persists and latches onto the largely positive aspects of such an easily accessible tool as LinkedIn. Thankfully, we can stop these unwanted transgressions by reporting and blocking LinkedIn abusers.

TIP: To block a user, go to the profile page of the offender and move your cursor to the Endorse button, which will lead to the option to Block or Report

In summary, we all need to support the LinkedIn platform and behave in a way that others can learn from our experiences on topics PROFESSIONAL IN NATURE. Hopefully, LinkedIn will implement certain measures to minimize harassment and create a "Code of Conduct" for users to adhere to, greatly reducing instances of abuse thus enhancing the user experience for everyone.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts below!

For more professional and personal branding advice, read 3 Steps to Describe Yourself Effectively in 30 Seconds (Or Less!)

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